2012 postseason wrap-up series: day IV

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated presents the fourth edition of this year's postseason recap with five surprises.

1. Sooners drop two games at home—For the first time since 1998, the year before head coach Bob Stoops arrived, they fell in multiple contests on Owen Field. First, Kansas State knocked them off 24-19. Still with a chance to fight back into the national championship discussion, Notre Dame downed them 30-13 weeks later again on their home grass.

2. Quarterback Landry Jones keyed game-deciding drives in consecutive weeks—For all the criticism the redshirt senior received throughout his career, Jones stepped up down the stretch, particularly against West Virginia and Oklahoma State. With the Sooners needing a touchdown on their final drive to knock off the Mountaineers, Jones delivered when he moved them downfield and capped it off with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills in the final minute. Needing a touchdown a week later to tie and send it to overtime, Jones completed clutch pass after clutch pass in order to set up the game-tying Blake Bell rush. The Sooners eventually won that game in overtime.

3. A pair of players not on the roster last spring saved OU's offense—Without transfers Jalen Saunders and Justin Brown, OU's season might have been much worse. Saunders and Brown combined for more than 1,700 yards and eight touchdowns. As can be expected from those numbers, they produced timely catches many times throughout the course of the season. Jones' life became much easier when Saunders announced his transfer last spring—though he didn't play his first game until Texas—and Brown elected to leave amidst the Penn State scandal and arrive during fall camp.

4. A rather unproductive player up to this year, running back Brennan Clay put together a very impressive year—His signature moment came in the Bedlam game when he sprinted for the game-winning 18-yard touchdown in overtime. But his impact was far greater than that. Clay came up with a huge kickoff return in the Iowa State game that allowed OU to score before the half and did it again weeks later. He served as a mainstay in the kickoff return game in addition to finishing with 555 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

5. The Sooner offensive line kept trucking despite suffering numerous injuries—It started before the season when center Ben Habern concluded his career due to ongoing neck and back issues. Right guard Tyler Evans then tore his right ACL, forcing two unexpected starters into the rotation in guards Adam Shead and Bronson Irwin. Gabe Ikard held it down at center, while Lane Johnson, Daryl Williams and Tyrus Thompson solidified the tackle spots. Williams, though, suffered a late-season injury and had to miss time, including the Cotton Bowl. Backup guard Nila Kasitati even tore his ACL in the Texas Tech game. Still, the offense stayed afloat, and it's a testament to these guys' work ethic and character.

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